Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Read to Me Picture Book Challenge 2012: Colors

Once again I have some picture books to share.  I used these books with four classes of kindergartners.  Each book works well as a read-a-loud and one even got the kids giggling madly.

written and illustrated by Ashley Wolff
Beach Lane Books, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4424-1306-1
Grades PreK-2
Reviewed from personal copy.

Explore the world of color with Baby Bear!Baby Bear has so much to learn about the world! From the moment he wakes until it’s time to curl up and go to sleep, he explores outside with his mama. They see green leaves, blue jays, brown trout, and—best of all—a patch of yummy red strawberries.From bestselling picture book creator Ashley Wolff, here is a clever concept book that combines engaging and intricate linocut illustrations with a story that enthusiastically encourages children to identify a variety of vibrant colors. Young readers will delight in this chance to join Baby Bear as he discovers the colorful wonders of his lively, leafy forest home.

This is one of my favorite picture books published this year.  Not only are the illustrations amazingly gorgeous, but the text reads smoothly and simply.  I also appreciated how patient Mama Bear is with her very curious cub.  She answers all his questions and lets him explore, but she is nearby should he get in trouble.  This is a great book for teaching children to really see the world around them and the sights and smells that bring that world to life.  It also makes for a tender bedtime story. It also works as a read-a-loud and is perfect for teaching about colors. Highly, highly recommended. I wouldn't be surprised if this book got some award love, in fact, I hope it does.

written by Roseanne Thong, illustrated by Grace Lin
Chronicle Books, 2008
ISBN: 0-8118-3177-9
Grades PreK-2
Reviewed from library copy.

Discover shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and more as a little girl finds color in all sorts of everyday things. Many of the featured objects are Asian in origin, others universal: red is the dragon in the Chinese New Year parade, green is a bracelet made of jade, and yellow are the taxis she sees on her street. With rich, boisterous illustrations and colors that leap off the page, this concept picturebook will brighten every child's day!

I'll say right off that I am a huge Grace Lin fan.  I enjoy the bright colors she uses in her artwork.  Her style works especially well for this book about colors. The predominant color on each page is the one being highlighted, but she uses differing shades so the pages stand out.  The color being highlighted is obvious, but not too obvious. I also really like the ending that shows a wider perspective including some of the colors and places mentioned on previous pages.  This book provides a delightful reading and seeing experience. 

written and illustrated by Eric Carle
Philomel Books, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-399-25713-1
Grades PreK-1
Reviewed from personal copy.

Every child has an artist inside them, and this vibrant picture book from Eric Carle will help let it out. The artist in this book paints the world as he sees it, just like a child. There's a red crocodile, an orange elephant, a purple fox and a polka-dotted donkey. More than anything, there's imagination. Filled with some of the most magnificently colorful animals of Eric Carle's career, this tribute to the creative life celebrates the power of art.

I love the theme behind this book.  The idea that just because something is usually done in one way, doesn't mean it is wrong to do it another way is an important theme.  Children especially are vulnerable to the idea that there is only one way to do something.  This book helps counter that idea, by suggesting that exercising our creativity is a good thing.  The illustrations are typical Carle, simple in shape, yet complex in design.  Of course children aren't going to see most of that.  The classes I shared this with giggled through the whole read-a-loud.  This is undoubtedly because the animals are different colors than one would see in the real world.  Not only is there a blue horse, but a yellow cow, a pink rabbit, a green lion, and an orange elephant. I highly recommend this book for sharing and teaching. 

written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Roaring Brook Press, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59643-397-7
Grades PreK-1
Reviewed from personal copy.

Die cut pages bring surprise after surprise in this magical new book from the "Queen of the concept book"—an intricate and satisfying homage to green, the color of all creation.

How many kinds of green are there? There's the lush green of a forest on a late spring day, the fresh, juicy green of a just-cut lime, the incandescent green of a firefly, and the vivid aquamarine of a tropical sea. In her newest book, Caldecott and Geisel Honor Book author Laura Vaccaro Seeger fashions an homage to a single color and, in doing so, creates a book that will delight and, quite possibly astonish you.

Seeger never ceases to amaze me with her creativity and skill.  Here is another deceptively simple yet fascinating look at the world around us.  Seeger shows us the beauty and versatility of the color green.  Each die cut changes form on the next page. For example, the book starts by showing a forest with two die cut leaves.  When you flip the page, the die cuts have become fish.  The kindergartners I shared this with were fascinated by the way the shapes stayed the same but became something else, through the changes in color and location.  A delight from beginning to end. 


  1. Red is a Dragon looks fab- and so do these other colour books.

  2. All of these books look great. I really like the cover of baby Bear Sees Blue and it sounds fabulous. I am also curious about Red is a Dragon. I met Gradce Lin at a book fair last year and she was so nice and it was fun to learn more about her. I have read her MG books, but nothing that she has illustrated. Thanks for sharing!


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